How can I get my stimulus when tax returns conflict?

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Q. Let’s say someone earned more than $100,000 in 2018, but less than $75,000 in 2019. Can he be denied a $1,200 stimulus payment because the 2019 tax return wasn’t filed early enough? How can I get my money?
— Concerned

A. This has caused a lot of confusion.

Single taxpayers are eligible for a stimulus payment if they earn up to $75,000, or they get a partial payment if they earn up to $98,000.

The catch here is that the IRS will base your payment on either your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

So if you filed your 2019 on the later side, or if the IRS hasn’t yet processed it — which has happened to more than 10 million people — the IRS will base your payment on the 2018 return.

The IRS FAQ on stimulus payments says that payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size.

“If you filed a 2019 tax return, the IRS used information from it about you, your spouse, your income, filing status and qualifying children to calculate the amount and issue your Payment,” it said. “If you haven’t filed your 2019 return or it has not been processed yet, the IRS used the information from your 2018 return to calculate the amount and issue your Payment.”

The IRS said it is not able to correct or issue additional payments at this time.

If you did not receive the full amount to which you believe you are entitled, the IRS said you will be able to claim the additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return.

“This is particularly important for individuals who may be entitled to the additional $500 per qualifying child payments,” it said.

You can learn more here.

The IRS said you should keep Notice 1444 — the letter signed by President Donald Trump that should come two weeks after you receive your payments.

“When you file your 2020 tax return next year, you can refer to Notice 1444 and claim additional credits on your 2020 tax return if you are eligible for them,” the IRS said. “The IRS will provide further details on IRS.gov on the action they may need to take.”

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This story was originally published on June 11, 2020.

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